Archive for October, 2005

Day 156 – Saturday 1st October

Karen had an “ok” night’s sleep. She didn’t think she had and thought she had been up all night, but bizarrely she had been snoring like a trooper for quite a proportion of the night. I think the problem she has is interrupted sleep which makes her feel like she is up all the night.

I didn’t go to sleep until I was sure she was asleep. I just couldn’t. Everytime I woke up, I checked to see how she was, just by listening to her. Everytime I was as sure she was asleep as I could be. On 2 occasions, I whispered “Are you ok ?” and got no reply.

I got up about 8.30am and took the dogs leaving her a phone “just in case”. When i got back, I joined her for a snooze and we both ended up getting out of bed about 11am.

We had breakfast in the kitchen and went out to enjoy this endless Summer we seem to be having.

The family were due to come over today for a get together (kp’s idea). I had got FAR too much buffet food in from Tesco ready for them.

Left to Right – Karen, Adele, Louisa, Michelle, Marie, Abby and Ethan

Marie, Michelle and Adele kindly did all the washing up and clearing away which was VERY much appreciated.

We had a great time when they arrived and until they left with the kids performing dance routines to the Wiggles. Ethan wasn’t in for the dancing and was “happy” to do his homework instead.

kp was knackered when they left (4.30pm) and we had a conversation that went something like this :-

dp:- You tired
kp:- A bit
(She was knackered)
dp:- Me too. We should wait until 8.30pm to go to sleep, it’s only 4 hours away.
kp:- Yes, you’re right.

Within 20 minutes we were fast asleep in the bedroom. We had the loveliest of snoozes (kp included).

We got up for Pizza and X Factor and are just retiring now. She has took a Tamazepam (sleeping tablet), so hopefully that will get her off to sleep.

Cracking Day today.

Day 157 – Sunday 2nd October

I am pleased to report a cracking night’s sleep. She only woke up once (for a turn) which is a big improvement on any previous night.

A very pleasant day today overall. I walked the dogs while kp snoozed. We had breakfast in the kitchen before enjoying some fresh air outside for about an hour. I developed a cracking headache and needed to be in a dark room, so kp came to join me in the bedroom for what turned out to be a 2 hour kip ! :-)

We are looking at getting one of the bathroom’s turned into a wet room so kp can shower at home – so, we perused through some brochures dad had sent us.

kp sent a few emails, I typed only one for her. She needs the text on the screen making huge to see them :-(

And I am cooking pasta while I write the blog as kp gets some relief from Numb Bum Syndrome. She has very poor circulation in her feet and they are ALWAYS cold. She is on her 4th hot water bottle of the day.

Not sure what time she is going back to the hospital, she may be a dirty late night stopout, she doesn’t know yet ! :-)

She is looking forward to the catheter coming out tomorrow. I am dreading it. I fear 1 hourly rush trips to the loo. After over 5 months on catheter, it will take some time to get used to feeling her bladder full, and the nurses have already advised us that there will be accidents.

Day 158 – Monday 3rd October

kp didn’t have the catheter removed. Apparently, it is best to remove it at 6am so she gets a full day without it to see how she fares, so tomorrow at 6am they whip it out.

Pretty uneventful day today.


Fruit Salad and Tea outside

Snooze before physio

Karen saw the doctor because she had experienced a lot of aches and pains over the weekend and wanted her pain medication reviewed. They are upping the Fentanyl Patch on Wednesday to 75mg (currently 50mg).

Physio today involved lots of hip-loosening, knee bending routines, before doing 35 steps. The main man is trying to get her to experience the rhythm of walking. At the moment, the main man is positioning the left foot every step, so it is hoped, it will develop its own swing I think.

There was a bit of cockup on my part today during physio. “A bit” is probably putting it mildly. My job during the walking is to stand in front of the wheelchair that Karen uses for stability to make sure it doesn’t run away. A pretty easy job you’d think. Well, when Karen turns corners the wheelchair ends up not being centered on her body and her arms are to the right or left of her body, so I pick the wheelchair up and recentre it. Well, today I did that, and must have pulled the wheelchair away from Karen, and she collapsed like a tall chimney being demolished. She just gave way. Thankfully, the main man and his assistant were there to stop her hitting the floor.

dp:- Sorry, love.
kp gives me a stern look
dp:- I am gonna cop it later

Everyone laughed.

I think I will try and get out of that job and be the person who catches her when she falls.

We left kp’s bedroom a mess when we went to physio. I had left my bed (for the snooze) on the floor, and kp’s bed was in disarray.

When we got back, everything was beautifully in order. Marie and Michelle had arrived. They had done their thing and the room was very inviting.

We had a good natter and cup of tea outside, before going back to tuck kp into her lovely pink blanket.

That’s it for today.

Day 159 – Tuesday 4th October

Very good day today with lots of “new stuff” happening.

First of all, the catheter was removed at 6am, to shouts of joy and fists in the air from kp according to the nurses. When I arrived, she was ready to have a pee and had the biggest smile I have seen for a while. We had time enough to get in the wheelchair, go to the loo and transfer to the loo.

kp:- “Wahey, I’ve had a wee”

Well, there’s not much you can say to that, so I just congratulated her and enjoyed the accompanying big smile.

I had expressed my concern to the lovely Occupational Therapist (OT) yesterday that I was perhaps doing too much for Karen and that kp would probably be able to leave the hospital walking, but wouldn’t be able to get up to stand from the bed to start the walking off. and other basic things like dress herself etc….

The OT scheduled some time with Karen this morning and she came loaded with some REALLY good tips. Karen can’t get herself sitting on the bed (from lying) without assistance, she can’t go to lying on a bed (from sitting over the edge) without assistance. So the OT told her how to do it. It’s something we all take for granted and I couldn’t think how I did it so I could explain to Karen how to do it.

The OT told kp how to do it with her good arm and did a few practices. I think it will take a few more, but kp was probably getting 85% there herself with the OT’s assistance. She (the OT) brought with her a board that goes under the mattress and provides kp with a handle to help her get up and down. It proved very useful.

I asked the OT if it was possible to dress oneself with just one hand/arm working. Everything apart from bras can be done one-handed. It would have to be bloody bras that she needs assistance with. Marie told me the other day, I had the bra on upside down and kp and her were laughing at it. They were amazed I had been able to get it on that way.

A man should only have to get bras off, but it looks like I’ll have to learn to get them on consistently.

We told the OT that we would give dressing a try today and get back to her if we needed any tips. Well, kp struggled with pants/knickers as she can’t bend down far enough to get them on. She struggled with T-shirt and Coat also. She doesn’t seem to be able to guide her left arm/hand into the sleeve. I tell her to look at her hand and guide it in. She lines it up, smiles and then looks away and tries to pull it on but by that time, she has missed her left arm. So, OT, we will be calling on you soon for some more of your great tips !

The OT encouraged kp to wash her face, clean her teeth while standing just like she normally would . Karen and I have really got into a routine of doing things a certain way, we are definately benefitting from a 3rd person’s take on our routine. So, kp stood for teeth cleaning and face washing.

We were a bit short of time, so we had her first shower. Well, it was my first time doing a shower, Karen had had one before. It’s a lot quicker, but the helper (me) gets a lot wetter. I need to work on this one, maybe bring my wellies in tomorrow.

Shower over, kp tried to dress herself, but it didn’t go too well, and we ended up a bit short of time, so I finished it off and then she had another pee. Success #2.

Physio today was excellent. It started off with the usual warm-up, leg-strengthening exercises and finished with a walk, this time WITHOUT the wheelchair in front.

I was VERY impressed with the improvement today. Previously, the main man has had to position kp’s left foot every step. Although he did help occasionally, kp did 80% of the moving of her left leg herself. The other physio held kp’s right hand to keep her steady. It is the best walking I have seen her do.

At the end of it, we ended up in the corridor and Karen said :-

kp:- That wasn’t very good was it.

I was gobsmacked. She clearly didn’t realise that her left leg had been moving mostly itself without the main man’s help. When this was explained to her, she felt a lot better about it. I did an impression of her walking to her later, and she understands how well she did and what she needs to do to improve.

When she was “walking”, her left leg was following through(ish) but was coming too close to her right leg, rather than be a bit apart. Plenty of time to improve this.

Physio over, we went for lunch at Quenellies. She ate every bit of her Minced Beef, Dumplings and Chips. I had piled loads of chips on her plate, hoping she would not eat them all as I wanted them. She ate the lot :-)

We went back to the room for another pee. Success again (#3). I went for a snooze, kp watched TV. I didn’t sleep a wink (TV too loud), kp was fast asleep, but I didn’t realise this until 60 minutes had passed.

We went outside for some fresh air to be ready to greet Marie at the entrance when she got there. We all had a cup of tea. Marie had brought some socks to warm kp’s feet up. They are lovely and no doubt a bargain at some incredibly low price.

I’ll finish on a little funny thing that happened right at the end of my day. We were outside with our cup of tea and coats on as it was a bit chillier today when all of a sudden, kp looked panicked and said :-

kp:- Where’s my hand (meaning her left hand). I can’t find my left hand ?

She really couldn’t find it.

Somehow, she had managed to put her left hand in her left coat pocket. Neither Marie or I had put it there.

We pointed out where it was, and she laughed her head off as did we all.

She then told us about one of her work colleagues who had visited. Apparently, kp had asked this person to pass Karen her left hand. This person started looking around the room for it much to Karen’s amusement. Karen had to point out that her left hand was actually on the end of her left arm.

Day 160 – Wednesday 5th October

I had a late arrival pass today and could arrive anywhere up until 12pm. I must have been hankering for brownie points as I arrived just before 10am :-)

She was fast asleep. I took great delight in waking her up which took a while. I thought it best to get her straight to the loo. She was as stiff as a board from yesterday’s physio so the transfer was a bit slow.

As soon as Karen knew I was putting her on the commode, she must have psychologically prepared for a wee, and I literally had to throw her on the commode to get her on in time. No accident, but it was a close call.

She opted for a shower today which went fine.

We went out for some fresh air. Another glorious day. When will this summer end ?

After about an hour outside, we came back in for a snooze before physio. Before the snooze, I suggested the loo again. Again, immediately kp started thinking of the loo and it became an urgent matter again. Suffice to say, we didn’t quite make it.

Physio today was great. Lots of leg strengthening done in the lying position. As before, the main man works up to the main leg strengthening routine where he puts his weight on Karen’s left foot, and Karen has to keep him from falling into her. He always holds her knee presumably so that if she gave way, he could sense it and apply pressure to the knee to stop him falling on Karen.

Today, for the first time, he let go of her knee completely and was putting all his weight on Karen holding nothing back.

kp:- Have you put weight on (main man) ?

Lol !

She then went to sitting on the side of the bench and they brought in a raised platform. Karen had to put her left leg on the raised step, and try and stand up using just her left leg. I don’t think she was expected to make it, and her left leg gave way and she sat down. She tried again and the main man helped her stand.

So, if you can imagine, she had her left foot on the step, and her right foot on the floor. She had to step up with her right leg on to the step. This involves a lot more work by her left leg. She did this a few times. I wasn’t sure how much her left leg was doing. It looked like she was doing more of a jump with her right.

He then turned this around and got kp’s right foot on the step, and the left foot on the floor. This definately taxed kp’s left leg more. She did a few of these.

So, at this point, kp has her left foot on the floor, her right foot on the step. He asked Karen to lift her right foot off the step. She raised her right heel off the step, leaving her toes on, taking the weight.

Main Man :- ok, you have lifted your heel off, can you know lift your foot off ?

We all laughed including kp who had thought she could get away with a heel lift.

He then asked Karen to lift her right foot on to the other physios knee which was about 2 feet in the air. Well, I am damn sure she wasn’t expected to achieve this, but the attempt got kp having ALL her weight on her left leg. Karen’s left knee very rarely locks any more, so she did a REALLY good attempt without her knee locked which must really have been hard.

This over, it was time for a walk. No wheelchair in front of her today, and the main man DIDN’T position kp’s left foot at all, well hardly at all. He was just there to provide kp some balance so she could concentrate on the walk. The other physio stood on kp’s right lest she fall.

She did REALLY well !!!! I was very impressed. Her left foot was still going too close to the right at first.

Here is a picture of her walking out of the physio room :-

(To see an enlarged picture, click on it)

She then turned the corner and started walking up the corridor.

(To see an enlarged picture, click on it)

The T-shirt says it all !

The main man could see she was still putting her left foot too close to her right foot, and told her to do a certain something (I can’t recall what), and whatever he told her, it worked a treat and kp did a BEAUTIFUL step with her left foot perfect positioned. I found myself shouting out “well done”. Her next couple of steps went back to being too close, but the main man was pleased she had achieved this perfect step as he knows how he can get kp to correct it.

Physio over, we went outside to meet Michelle and had a cup of tea and lots of laugh with her, before going in to get her nightie on.

Day 160 – Wednesday 5th October – Addendum

Just got a phonecall from Karen.

She had gone to the loo with Michelle and Michelle had suggested walking back to her bed. Karen agreed and walked the 10 steps back to her bed. Wahey !

Very impressive – wish I had been there to see it.

Day 161 – Thursday 6th October

Very productive day today.

We showered straight away as we had an appointment with the Occupational Therapist (OT) to help show kp how best she can get her clothes on herself.

After Karen was all dry and ready to get dressed, the OT came to the shower room and started giving some tips to Karen on how to get each individual bit of clothing on. With kp in the wheelchair, it was knickers first but she struggles to bend down far enough to hook them over one of the legs (I forget which). So the OT suggested hooking her leg on the other leg to raise it up. It’s simple things like this that are really helpful. It was a very productive session. I still need to help kp, but she can do a bit more herself now.

At one point, we had a marital tiff in front of the OT regarding how much I should be helping, and how much she should be doing herself. Karen and I were both asking the OT what she should be doing, I thought one way, kp thought another. The OT found it amusing and wisely sat on the fence.

Tiff over, we went to see the physio for a session. The main man was off today so it was the Daniel O’Donnell fan physio. She is lovely and gets on very well with kp and we have a good laugh.

kp pretty much did a similar routine as the previous day of leg strengthening, hip lifting etc etc followed by the finale, la piece de resistance, the big walk !!!!! With wheelchair in front of her, one physio behind kp, one by the side, and me in front she started walking and she didn’t stop until she got to her room. We used a pedometer to measure how many steps. Wait for it……..a MASSIVE 82 steps !!! She walked past the Quiet Room, the first nurses’ station, the second nurses’ station and to her room. I knew she wanted to get to her room and wouldn’t let some aches and pain stop her. By the time she got to the room, her legs were starting to shake !! :-)

As she made the long trip, she had the biggest of smiles on her face and when the various nurses saw how well she was doing, she would give them the biggest grin as they grinned back and said how amazed they were.

I was very proud of her !

Well done kp !

Physio over, we went to the big Quenellies for a meal. There was a roast meal on and it was lovely. I did a HUGE plate for Karen, bigger than mine and she ate the lot. 3 slices of beef, 2 Yorkshires, about 10 roast potatoes (little ones), carrots, 2 bits of parsnip, broccoli. I was well impressed. I had put extra roast potatoes on, hoping to steal a few. I wasn’t able to. I had to cut all her food up for her of course and at one point, I think she suspected I was going to steal a roast potato and banned me from touching her plate.

After the lovely meal, we went outside for some fresh air before going in for a long snooze. Apparently, I was snoring within 10 minutes of putting my head down. kp said she fell asleep 15 minutes after me, and we didn’t wake up until about 3.20pm (we went to sleep about 1.15pm). It was lovely.

After the snooze, the Neuro Psychologist (NP) came to see kp. We had a nice chat with her and she is coming back at 11.30am Monday to do some more tests on Karen. Karen had forgot what time she had said, and the NP gave kp a few different ways of remembering what time the meeting was.

NP:- Did you used to have milk breaks when you were at school. Were they at 11.30am ish ?
kp:- Nah
dp:- You’d be better asking her what time did you used to bunk off school ?

I haven’t to remind kp what time the appointment is, and she is going to see if she remembers it on Monday.

Marie then arrived with some more bargains. Warm Socks 99p etc etc…

That’s it for today.

Day 162 – Friday 7th October

One of those days where things just seemed to go wrong for me. But kp is fine. My bad day was due to tiredness.

Got up with the dogs at 3.33am. Couldn’t get back to sleep until about 6.30am, was up at 7.30am.

Went to the post office, stood in a long queue, to finally get to the counter and find out that the parcel I was there to collect had been delivered to our neighbours. Pollards don’t like queues.

Arrived with 5 minutes to spare before physio at the hospital. kp wanted the loo before physio – in moving things out of the path of the wheelchair, a 1-inch hole (designer hole, I thought of it as) in my jeans caught on the wheelchair and I went flying on to Karen’s bed. The 1-inch designer hole was now a less than trendy 2-inch rip.

Karen thought it very funny. Ha Bloody Ha !

Physio today was leg strengthening to start with, but with a twist. The main man must have been thinking kp has been taking everything he throws at her with a pinch of salt, so he upped the ante. He got her to put her right knee on the bench, which puts more weight on her weaker left leg. She then had to lift her right leg off the bench and move it, putting ALL her weight on her left leg. She did this a couple of times, and the “Owwww”s got louder and louder and then with a final “OWWWWWWW!”, she collapsed in a heap on to the main man’s knee. She looked like a ventriloquist dummy for the main man.

He got her to do a few more of these before she did a walk up the corridor.

Physio over, we were “Go for Home Visit”.

All we needed was drugs and lots of them – typical Saturday night ;-)

We needed the Fentanyl Patch, so had to wait a few moments for it to be prescribed. It was lunchtime on the ward, and to save the nurses some time (at this very busy time for them), I offered to go and get the patch from the phamarcy. It’s right at the other end of the hospital, so I bundled up kp in the car, and we packed for our home visit and I drove round to the pharmacy. I left kp in the car and nipped in. I ended up waiting 15 minutes to be told “We can’t give this kind of prescription (morphine patient) directly to a patient. “You’ll have to go back to the ward to pick it up there. We’ll ring them when its ready”

So, we drove back to the ward, and went through the pallover of getting the wheelchair out of the car, packing kp up with all the rucksacks etc and taking the lift to the ward. I was a walking zombie at this time.

We had some tea and scones to pass the time and after about an hour, it had arrived.

I was gagging for a lie-down by this time.

We went home and pretty much went straight to bed. After about 90 mins, kp woke me up for the loo. We tried to get back to sleep, but by then it was too late.

She then wanted to try on all her trousers and shirts (well, it felt like all, it was actually only 2 pairs of trousers and 1 blouse) to find out which fitted ready for our meal with ace neighbours (Tommy and Eileen) tonight. After the second pair of trousers and before the blouse, I tripped on the blasted wheelchair again and the 2-inch rip, became a 4-inch (chuck them in the bin) tear.

That pretty much sums up the day for me. We are going out for a meal in less than hour and I am sure we will enjoy it.

Fingers crossed, the weekend picks up

Day 162 – Friday 7th October – Addendum

Well, we have just been out for a lovely meal with Tommy and Eileen. Thanks T+E !

It wasn’t without incident of course. After a half lager shandy, kp needed to go to the loo.

We rushed off to the loo to find only a men’s and women’s, but no disabled. Do you go in the men’s ? Or the ladies ?

Well, it had to be the ladies of course, so I pushed kp in whilst walking a bit camp (so as not to look out of place) and unfortunately, there wasn’t room for a wheelchair in the cubicle, so she had to walk the remaining steps to the loo.

Once in the confined cubicle space, she had to turn around with me for assistance. Well, neither of us know what happened but kp launched herself towards the loo window, collapsing as she did so. I launched at kp with my body weight (all 9 stone) and managed to counteract her weight heading to the window, the result of which was she landed perfectly positioned on the loo seat. kp was in stitches of laughter and so was I.

If anyone would have walked in, they would have wondered what the hell was going on. They would have seen a wheelchair parked up at a cubicle door with 2 people tittering away behind it.

Relief was imminent and we returned to join T+E moments later, before having to make a return journey half way through kp’s second half of lager shandy. This time was a bit more professional.

We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I am dreading tonight especially the moment where she wakes me up to go to the loo when I am fast asleep. That’s torture for me. But she’s worth it.

Day 163 – Saturday 8th October

Well, last night was as expected with kp needing to get up 4 or 5 times during the night for the loo.

I am not sure if this is related to the bladder damage from the crash or just a case of needing to get used to being without a catheter. Time will tell……

We’ve had a cracking day today that aside.

We had breakfast outside. Tea and toast for kp. I did her 2 slices of toast and cut them into halves. She couldn’t balance the plate of toast on her lap whilst grabbing it with her right hand, so I put 2 pieces on her left leg, and 2 pieces on her right leg.

I went to do my toast and brought it out. Within minutes, she was asking for some of my toast which I duly gave her. I was pleased she had polished her toast off and had such an appetite.

About 5 minutes later, I noticed that she still had the 2 pieces of toast on her left leg and didn’t realise. When I pointed this out, she giggled and apologised for stealing mine.

Marie and Adele arrived about 1pm and we had a nice cup of tea with them before Marie, kp and I went to Costco for some supplies. It was packed. Marie wheeled kp and I wheeled the trolley.

Whilst we were away, Adele cleaned the house for us and did a spankingly good job. We had time for a cup of tea with her before she and Marie had to return home.

Saturday night consisted of Pizza and X-Factor and we had a really good night.

I just got kp ready for bed a few moments ago and knocked her nose twice while trying to get her t-shirt and blouse off. She wasn’t best pleased.

dp:- It’s not me, it’s your big conk !

Well, there are 2 ways that kind of statement goes down, thankfully, it won her over and she laughed and I don’t have a black eye.

She is tucked up in bed now and I am going to join her. She has took a tamazepam so fingers crossed she sleeps a bit better tonight and doesn’t need as many toilet breaks !

Tomorrow my mum and dad are coming over from Lancashire and bringing Lasagne for lunch

Day 163 – Saturday 8th October – Addendum

Couple of things I forgot to mention from yesterday.

1. Aches and Pains
kp had lots of aches and pains on Friday night and so Saturday tooks lots of Diclofenac to try and ease things.

2. Feelings
She said an unusual thing to me yesterday. She said she wasn’t sure if she wants to walk as it is so hard. I think it’s only a passing thought, but I think she is finding it a lot harder than she lets on.

Day 164 – Sunday 9th October

Karen had a good night’s sleep and only got up twice for the loo. I faired less well, but the torture I had anticipated before the weekend never came about and I didn’t have any problems getting up.

A good day today for us both. I walked the dogs while kp snoozed and got her up at about 11am. We had tea and toast outside again. We got kp ready for a visit from Mum and Dad. We had problems getting kp’s hair to take on a style. She keeps saying she needs a restyle. I agree. We nearly used 2 cans of hairspray to get certain tufts of hair to stay down.

kp:- You can’t push down that hard when I’ve put hairspray on.

Fair enough.

Mum and Dad were very pleased to see kp. It’s been two weeks since their last visit (3 weeks for mum) (they have been in Austria celebrating 40 years of marriage) and they could see a big difference.

They brought with them a wall clock (which chimes every 15 minutes) which we had bought them as a present (thanks Jane). Dad wanted me to get it to work. I think Mum and Dad wished I hadn’t got it working. For the 3-4 hours they were there, it did its thing and chimed every 15 mintues (longer chimes on the hour). We all laughed every time it chimed. Mum wanted me to tell her which wires to cut so it wouldn’t chime. Dad insisted it chime and I not show her. £20 says the wires will have been cut within a week.

Mum brought lunch (Lasagne). Thanks ! She had laid out bowls on the left hand side of each setting for the accompanying salad. I was sitting to Karen’s right and put loads of salad in my bowl. Karen hadn’t seen her bowl and I had put her salad on her plate.

She helped herself to salad from my bowl.

dp:- Karen, your salad is on your plate. That is my bowl.

kp laughed and then got distracted by some conversation with Dad. She then started helping herself AGAIN to my salad.

dp:- Where’s your salad love ?
kp:- Oh, sorry.

I badgered Karen to show Mum and Dad a few walking steps. Karen stood up from the seat, while Dad was out of the room and mum shouted :-

Mum :- John, look. Karen’s standing. Karen’s standing
Dad (returned) :- I have seen that before.

Karen laughed.

They were very impressed when she did some steps with the wheelchair in front of her.

When they left, they stopped halfway up the drive and dad, laughing, shouted out of the car window

Dad:- “It’s still bloody chiming !”

We went for a 2-hour snooze, I think I needed it more than kp.

She is checking her email as I write this. I am not sure what time we are going back to the hospital, so no more blogs tonight means getting back was uneventful.

Day 164 – Sunday 9th October – Addendum

Funny little thing to end today on.

Got kp back to the hotel for just before 9pm. Took her into the bathroom to get changed and for the loo. Left her in the chair with her nightie on, while I went out of the bathroom to put a few things away.

Came back to the bathroom to find kp standing and then suddenly sitting down.

dp:- What you doing ?
kp:- I dunno, but I feel like that chap in the wheelchair from “Little Britain”.

She was referring to the chap in the wheelchair who, as soon as the carer turns his back, gets out of the wheelchair and does loads of things before returning to the wheelchair just before the carer looks at him again

“Yer, I know…………..”

We laughed – funny at the time.

PS – Just realised I put when kp got back to the “hotel”. Of course I mean hospital, but it’s an interesting slip in favour of the wonderful Q.E.

Day 165 – Monday 10th October

Breakfast (Cup of Tea), Shower and some fresh air.

Followed by a visit from the Neuro Psychologist (NP). More tests for kp basically. The NP mentioned that I can’t publish the detail of the tests (so this part of the blog will be a bit sketchy), but suffice to say, the tests were very interesting and showed some things that I thought kp would be able to do, but couldn’t.

The most interesting being she showed kp some pictures, but on each of the pictures there was something missing. I am using examples that weren’t used today to respect the NP’s wishes. So, let’s say, there was a car on a road on a rainy day and the wipers were on, but one of the windscreen wipers was missing, kp wouldn’t have seen it at all. I think she only got one of these right, which was very weird as normally she would have sussed it immediately. She also took ages before she realised that she couldn’t answer it.

There were some mental arithmetic tests, which she did quite well at. But the ones that were a bit longer and had more facts in, she couldn’t keep all the facts in the head. For example, Gill’s Father is a plumber and Gill has bought 40 washers at a jumble sale for 20% cheaper than Tom her father could have. Tom normally pays 50p a washer, what price did Gill pay in total.

There were some words she had to say the meaning of. She struggled a bit finding words to explain the meaning of the words given, apparently quite a common stroke side effect.

Lots of tests, and kp got quite frustrated with some of them, but the NP was great and when she sensed her frustration she stopped to explain the reason for the test and kp then was happy to carry on.

More tests on thursday afternoon, and they sound like they will be a lot more fun.

Physio today consisted of leg strengthening and lots of walking. She walked 90 steps today (with the wheelchair in front of her). It is Soooooooooo wonderful to watch her walk with a BEAMING smile on her face. When she can, she looks around at patients/nurses and I half expect her to do a royal wave. When I suggested that to her, she said

kp:- No, I couldn’t do that. I’d drop to the floor

She walked past her bedroom and was totally absorbed in her walking, which I really feel has taken a big leap forward since last Friday. Her left foot steps have improved so much !

Physio over, we went to big Quenellies for lunch and to meet up with Jane Burns who had us in stitches. Conversations ranged from a girly night she had spent at the caravan with friends and they were each listening in to each other to see if they could stop a pee mid-flow, from MUCH WORSE womanly conversations that should only be PAY-TO-HEAR !

We had a good laugh anyway.

That’s it for today.

Day 166 – Tuesday 11th October

Adventurous day today for kp.

When I arrived, we pretty much went straight into physio. kp was VERY stiff from yesterday, especially her right hip. kp’s physio had to call in another physio to loosen it up as she wasn’t having any joy. (The right hip is the one that was broken, with the connecting phema broken too). After about 20 minutes of massage, it was a bit looser.

But to avoid aggravating it, she only walked about 40-50 steps today, but stamina-wise she could have done the usual 80+.

Physio over, we ok’ed it with the Sister for kp to go out for the afternoon and we went to Middlesbrough to shop for bathroom items for the wet room we are building for kp. But, first we joined Tony and Jane for lunch at a restaurant in Middlesbrough. kp scoffed the lot. If it’s nice food, kp can eat like a lion, but the hospital ward food is generally awful. It’s probably the Q.E.’s only weak point. It’s not that the catering staff can’t do lovely food either, because the food in the restaurants is delicious, it’s just the travel it makes to the ward seems to kill any appeal it might have had.

After the meal, we wandered round bathroom and tile showrooms (fun fun fun !).

That over, we went round to Marie’s house for a cup of tea. Marie has 2 steps into her house, and it was a RIGHT FART ON getting kp in the front door, but we managed it. Marie’s toilet is upstairs and there was no way we were attempting that, so suffice to say, we managed by other means. But, if you ever go to Marie’s and she offers you a cup of tea, ask her which bowl it was washed up in. If it’s blue, pass !! Only kidding !

Christopher (kp’s nephew) arrived halfway through our cup of tea, and we had a good laugh with him, before we had to leave to get kp back to the hospital.

That’s it for today.

Day 167 – Wednesday 12th October

After yesterday, I was knackered, and kp kept asking me if anything was wrong today. I just kept reassuring her I was just tired. I didn’t arrive until 1pm today, but still had to get up at 8.30am for various reasons. Every lie-in (for me) we plan never seems to come off.

kp had been showered and had already done physio, which she said was exactly the same as yesterday, but that she wasn’t as stiff. We had a cup of tea, and then had 2 hours kip, more for me than kp.

Shortly after the kip, the consultant came round to see kp. All fine from his point of view. She is to come off the Tinzaparin (daily stomach injection for people who don’t move around a lot, stops DVT) and that was about that.

About 5.10pm the girls arrived (Marie, Jane and Yvonne) and they are having a pizza/indian evening with kp. So she should enjoy that.

Unusual tidbit to finish on. At some point during the day, kp said :-

kp:- I need to wash my hand

Of course, the usual expression is “wash my hands”. But she said hand. I just thought that really strange, but of course she only washes her right hand now as it’s the only one that gets dirty I suppose.

Day 168 – Thursday 13th October

Cracking day today – loads of laughs !

When I had arrived, kp had done her arm in trying to get out of bed and whenever she moved it, it was accompanied with an “ow” or a double “ow”.

It got a bit better as the day went on.

We went straight for a bath today, but one with a twist. Normally, I wheel her in on her bed and hoist her into the bath. Given her new ability to stand and transfer to another chair, we thought we would try going in on the wheelchair, transferring to the hoisting seat and lowering on that.

Well, she hated it. She found it uncomfortable and the “worst bath experience” ever. So, that won’t be happening again.

Bath over in record time, we had a bit of a snooze before the Neuro Psychologist came to do more tests on kp. The tests were VERY interesting and again, I can’t really go into too much detail, but they included

things Karen had to recreate (which she didn’t do too well on)
things she had to remember over different periods of time (my memory is v. poor, so I have no idea how she did at this one)
and there was a joint exercise where kp had to answer a load of questions about herself, and I had to answer them as to how I thought kp was doing in those areas.

All very interesting, the results of which we will find out next Wednesday. Can’t wait !

That over, it was time for physio. Quite a bit of time was spent on trying to get kp’s arm back in good shape, followed by the usual leg strengthening and walking. What made this physio session VERY memorable is the room was VERY windy today. I can’t say any more than that, but Gale Force winds were around. It was like a hurricane at times and we were ALL in stitches.

I tried to get kp to give me the “ok” to describe the events in more detail, but all I could get away with was what I have written above.

Physio over, we had a cup of tea with Marie who had arrived at 1pm and who spent most of the afternoon in the Day Room reading “Bella” (or something like that) because of all the action going on with kp’s visits.

Tomorrow, she comes home and we have an action-packed weekend lined up. Should be fun.

Day 169 – Friday 14th October

Great Day today.

After her bath, we pretty much hot-footed it out of the hospital as soon as we had all our drugs packed up. At the last minute, kp remembered her dressing needed changing and rather than bother the nurses who were pushed for time today, we just went into her bathroom, I whipped her trousers down whilst she was standing, whipped the old one off and slapped a new one on, trousers up and we were ready for the off. It might not have been very professional, but it meant we could get away quicker.

We went straight to Sainsburys to get some food for the weekend and I think kp enjoyed the mooch around. We got the usual disabled trolley, which I really enjoy driving around. It sticks on the front of the wheelchair with 2 two foot-long arms followed by the trolley, so its a bit like driving an articulated lorry around a supermarket but fun with it. If you hit people they tend to be very understanding.

Shopping done, we went home for a toasted sandwich with Parkinson (from last Saturday).

After that kp wanted to get “off her bum” and laid down on the sofa, within minutes, she was asleep.

Marie, Jane, Adele, Abbie and Louisa arrived. It’s our Lee’s (Marie’s son) anniversary tomorrow (4 years since he died of Leukaemia at the age of 19). Karen always used to go over to Maries and make up some home-made flower arrangements to plant at his gravestone. This time the flowers came to kp (thanks to Jane for getting them at remarkable prices again !!!).

Karen had chosen to do a guitar for Lee, and Marie did her “Son”. Abbie did a posie. The girls tackled the guitar first :-

and then while kp rested her numb bum again, Marie cracked on with “Son”.

They had a great time doing it which is the important thing. I took the opportunity of lying down on the sofa. After about 20 minutes of light sleep, I heard Abbie (Lee’s niece) (8 year old) telling everyone she had been watching Karen and I’s wedding video to cheer her up and see Lee alive again. She said Karen looked “beautiful”, and that I had “big hair”. I used to be bouffante back then. I couldn’t help put put “2 fingers” in the air slowly from behind the settee, everyone laughed apart from Marie who nearly took a slipper to my arse for doing it in front of abbie.

She scares me that Marie ! ;-)

All the flower work paid off and Lee would be proud of the girls :-

Once they all left, kp was ready for bed. She has a new gadget that is supposed to help her make it through the night without needing to get up to go to the loo/commode. We call it the slipper, because it looks like a slipper. She has needed help with the positioning of this to date (because of her short arms), but to allow me to have a good night’s sleep, she was keen to suss it herself. Well, we have just tried it. We prepared for the worst, and we are glad we did, because the slipper is as dry as parched leprechaun in the middle of a desert. The towel we used just in case isn’t. So Cinderella you can come and claim your slipper. It doesn’t fit this lady’s “feet”.

With that a disaster, we tried a few trial runs to see if kp could get out of bed herself, and after some expert tuition (tips I had remembered the physios telling me) she is able to get out of bed herself, transfer to the commode and back again. She even did a trial run in the near pitch dark and made it successfully, so fingers crossed for tonight.

Cracking day overall.

Day 170 – Saturday 15th October – Part One

Scary Night.

After much practice at transferring to the commode we both felt kp was ready to transfer herself in the middle of the night. How wrong we were !

At about 4am, I heard kp rustling and asked her if she was getting up for the loo. She was. So, I lay on my side watching her, I could pick her out, because of the little nightlight we had on. She ……….

  • got on to her bum fine from lying
  • stood up fine
  • started turning fine
  • then……..

Grabbed for the toilet roll and fell like a sack of potatoes ! It was horrible to watch. She hit the back of her head on the floor and I could see nothing now from my vantage point, and all I could hear was :-

kp:- “Ow, Ow, Ow, Owwwwwwww !”

I rushed out of bed and checked she was “ok”. She was still desperate for the loo, of course, and how she managed to hold on to it, I don’t know, because her bladder is so weak. I presume lying down helped.

I got the slipper prompto and whapped it in the appropriate place. Relief ensued and no wet carpet.

Karen reassured me she was “ok”, I think she was concerned at me running round like a headless chicken.

I calmed down a bit, and asked her what happened. She lost her balance when grabbing the loo roll. Although we had done the whole thing in the same light fine in our practices, we hadn’t counted on the lack of balance you have when you wake up in the middle of the night.

Whilst she was down there, she asked me what I had saw. Rather than explain, I did an impression of what she had just done and kp was howling with laughter, grabbing her belly as she always does when she laughs now.

I was so pleased to hear her laugh. This could have been a lot worse.

I covered kp up on the floor with a blanket while we worked out how on EARTH we were going to get her off the ground. Although she can normally get to sitting from lying, she can only do that if her legs can dangle over the edge of a bed.

By this time, it was 4.15am and she had been on the floor for 15 minutes. We had worked out we didn’t want to call an ambulance (pride), didn’t want to call Tommy or Eileen (‘cos of the ungodly hour) and there was no other way but for me to lift her to standing.

With little ado, I just put my arms behind her back and lifted her to standing. I doubt I could do it again, but i think all the psyching up and the lack of other routes meant it just had to be done. I was amazed that I could do it frankly. If i believed in god, I would have looked up and said “Thanks mate”.

Once back in bed, we both didn’t sleep for ages, and every 15 minutes I kept asking kp “are u ok ?”. She kept saying “yes”. This must have gone on until about 6am, and that’s the last time I looked at the clock.

I got up at 8am to walk the dogs before our visitor arrived today at 10am. I got kp up at 9am and she really didn’t want to get up. She was knackered. But she got up to be ready in time for our solicitor arriving at 10am to meet Karen for the first time.

After our visitor left (1pm), we both went back to sleep for a couple of hours before kp’s hair appointment. Neither of us wanted to get up again, but needs must.

I took a photo of the hair style she had before her hair appointment :-

To marvel at the beauty of the work in more detail, click on the photo.

This hair style was totally my own work. I like to call it “Wind meets hair, meets water, meets sleep”. It’s a style that I am sure you will agree will be the rage in all the salons in a year’s time.

I am available for home visits.

I dropped kp off at the salon at 3.35pm and am awaiting a call to pick her up. I will take an after shot.

Day 170 – Saturday 15th October – Part Two

Well, I went back to the hairdressers to find kp had had her hair coloured but had not yet chosen a style yet. The hairdresser asked what style she wanted and Karen handed it over to me.

dp:- I think she’d look nice with a bop
kp:- He means bob

The hairdresser suggested “Urchin” style which was similar. 30 minutes later, kp emerged as an Urchin

It was a specials day at the hairdressers : Get a new style, get a free dog.

I was over the moon with my choice, but I think it will have to grow on kp.

Back at home, she needed warming up and went to bed for 20 minutes or so, before coming out for our evening’s entertainment, X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing with pizza. We had a great night.

Here is kp’s new look taken at home :-

Day 171 – Sunday 16th October

We were up a few times during the night, but pleased to report no falls last night.

We lay in until 10am. I walked the dogs, kp got up at 11am. She was sweating like a pig last night (she finds the duvet really stifling and hard to move in the night) so we kind of did a stand-up bedbath. Not ideal, but she felt better after it. I am trying to encourage her to use her left hand more. She doesn’t acknowledge it at all, and it’s as if it’s not there, until it hurts. So I have been getting her to hold her toothbrush in her left hand whilst she puts toothpaste on it. She tries to ram the toothbrush into her left hand and needs to be coaxed to open her left hand. It does open on request (but takes a while), and then it closes on request (but not tightly enough to grip anything hard. But my feeling is the more she uses it, the more likely she will regain some practical use out of it.

When she is spitting out a toothpaste filled mouth, loads of it goes on her left hand and she doesn’t realise it. Were I not there to tell her, she wouldn’t clean it up and she would spend the whole day with toothpaste gunk over her hand :-(

I tell her quite a lot to “keep checking your left hand”, but either she forgets or more probably relies on feeling something is wrong with it, but of course she can’t. Quite sad ! One of my concerns is when she has her hot water bottle on her. She likes it boiling hot, and sometimes I have found it touching her left hand. She doesn’t feel the danger from it.

We had breakfast watching the results of X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing (we were too tired to watch the results last night).

Sat out with the dogs for a while before going back to bed for 3 hours.

Got up and she wanted her hair washing. So, head over sink, we washed her hair and I did the new urchin style, which is a cinch compared to her ’70′s bouffante look from before. She doesn’t like her new hairstyle but I think it’s awesome. She thinks it MAY grow on her.

We then prepared for our Roast Beef Dinner (incl Yorkshire Puds on steroids). Whilst it was cooking, kp and I sat out with the dogs again (lovely day) and talked a lot. She is a bit sick of things at the moment, along the lines of :-

  • Everything is a struggle
  • Her Aches and Pains preventing her from doing anything
  • She is p+ssed off only being able to type with one hand
  • Having to have her food cut up for her.
  • Needing help with EVERY aspect of her life.
  • She thinks that she won’t be able to walk properly again
  • Etc Etc :-(

It was quite sad to listen to and there isn’t much I can say. The Neuro Psychologist said that when kp gets low, she needs to be distracted to get her out of it, so I will try and arrange some distractions this week and at the weekend.

Actually, towards the end of our chat, Eileen (ace neighbour) came round for a natter which was great. She must have a sixth sense.

Dinner over (she scoffed the lot), we watched Ant and Dec’s Gameshow Marathon before heading back to the hospital.

Day 172 – Monday 17th October

kp was due to have some bed mobility training (how to move around the bed and get out of/into bed) this morning at 9.15am. When I arrived at 11am, she said that the physio hadn’t been and must have forgot.

Her mood this morning was a bit flat, but nothing drastic. We went out for some fresh air after a nice bath.

After being outside, she really needed to get warm, so we got her tucked up in bed and we both had a snooze until physio.

The main man had been detained and was a little late for physio but we were well entertained by the other physios and one of their patients who is a real hoot.

Karen took issue with the physio who “hadn’t been” for the bed mobility training.

kp:- So, X, where were you at 9.15am this morning ?
X :- I was in your bedroom watching you snore. I came back 4 more times and you were still asleep.

kp started laughing.

When the main man arrived, he got stuck in to see how kp’s left leg and torso was doing. After loads of manipulation, he had sussed her out 100% and went straight for some walking.

THIS TIME………no wheelchair !!!! :-)

She did about 40 steps with no assistance apart from the main man who had his hand across her back to give her a little support and to see if she was going to fall. He didn’t assist with her foot placement at all. It was very impressive. After 40 steps, her left leg was getting a bit tired and we called it a day. She did very well !

Physio over, Marie and Michelle arrived and we had a good laugh with them. At one point, Marie took kp to the loo and Michelle and I jumped in Karen’s bed for when she came out of the loo.

dp:- What are we doing ? Pretending to be asleep ?
Michelle :- Or should we be pretending to have sex ? I do that anyway in my sleep

Well, we pretended to sleep and kp was laughing her head off when she came out.

That’s it for today.

Day 173 – Tuesday 18th October

kp felt a bit more positive this morning when I went in I am pleased to report and she seemed to retain this positivity all day.

Unfortunately, her eyes were “all to pot” today. Sometimes they don’t line up and she sees things twice and no, she hadn’t been drinking. This seemed to get better later in the day.

Physio was at 11.30am today. The main man spent lots of time working on kp’s left arm today. Apparently, when kp moves her left arm forward, she does the movement a lot from the body and not from the arm. This is linked to the muscle stiffness in her left torso, so he spent quite a while trying to loosen up her left torso (rib cage area).

Then it was time for the daily walk. No wheelchair again, and this time the main man was behind Karen pushing her faster. I think he was trying to encourage a longer stride. It obviously worked as kp picked up quite a speedy walk. She did really well.

Today we went for lunch at the big Quenellies. kp had a hot beef sandwich with gravy and chips and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a chicken korma that was to-die-for. We went back to the room for a 2 hour snooze before Marie arrived. I don’t think Marie was feeling too well today as she didn’t pick any bargains up from the town. ;-)

Day 174 – Wednesday 19th October

Karen has had problems with her right hip today and it seems to be hurting her quite a bit when she starts walking, but once she gets into a rhythm it doesn’t seem so bad.

Uneventful day.

Physio was a long walk going out of the back ward door, and coming back in the front ward door. She did very well.

Lots of snoozes today. I was very tired. kp has a pizza night tonight with the sisters and Jane.

Day 175 – Thursday 20th October

On my arrival, kp went straight to the loo.

The toilet paper dispenser is out of reach of the loo for kp (as its on her left side), so I have to pass her the loo paper. It’s one of those loo paper dispensers that gives out a large sheet folded in half. The first time I handed her a sheet, she wanted “more than that”. I am now in the routine of giving her 4 (FOUR) sheets for a single use ! Today, I handed her the first FOUR sheets and she said “I want more than that !”.

If there are any millionaires out there who can afford to take on kp, please step forward. I can’t afford the toilet roll bill when she gets home. I am still on the same roll as we had in place before the accident (well not far off !)

After the loo, she went to wash her hand. After she had washed her hand, I helped dry her hand whilst making a kind of hair dryer noise.

kp:- You don’t have to make noises while you dry my hand. I am not a kid you know.

At which point, she started laughing. So, of course, for the rest of the day, I had to make the noises.

Later in the day……..(me making drying noises whilst drying kp’s hand with the towel)

kp:- It’s not funny. I am not laughing

Belly laughs followed.

I forgot to mention that kp is now walking to the loo and back. This started Tuesday of this week. It’s a slow walk and she holds my hand for balance, but she walks nonetheless.

Loo over, it was time for a hot bath. She had lots of aches and pains today, so was really ready for it. It was a record 41.8′C today, and she had to be lowered in real slowly but she loved it when in.

After the bath, we had a snooze. I snoozed on the bed with kp today, and it was lovely for both of us.

We went down for lunch at the big Quenellies for a Roast Beef meal. It was lovely although not as tasty as last week. It was a big portion and kp ate the LOT.

Lunch over, physio followed.

Today was a bit strange to watch. The main man lifted kp’s left foot and shin in the air and out to the side and to all sorts of places, whilst kp was holding all her weight on her right leg. This got kp to balance more without using her hand or her left leg as a dead weight on the ground. It obviously did the trick as by the end of it, not only could kp move her left leg out to the left (a first), but she walked 90 steps with only the main man with his finger/hand on kp’s back (to sense when she fell).

She is deservedly so proud of herself when she walks, I can see her looking at people, so she can nod/smile back to them when they see her.

I can almost hear her saying “That’s right, I’m walking !”.

Nice one Love !!!

We were due a visit today from the Neuro Psychologist, but she got delayed, so she is coming tomorrow at 11am with the results of all kp’s tests. Should be very interesting.

Also at 9.15am, kp is going to have some practice walking on carpet, which apparently is harder than walking on the shiny floor she has been walking on. The ward has a self-contained flat (with carpet, kitchen etc…) for patients to practice everyday things like making a cuppa, ironing for your husband etc…

Day 176 – Friday 21st October

Long, but great day today.

kp, normally not vaguely conscious before 10am, was up at 8.15am today. I arrived a little late (rush hour traffic) to get her in the bath for 8.30am.

We met up with the physio who walked Karen into the Ward Flat so she could try walking on carpet.

dp:- It’s not exactly a thick pile carpet is it
Physio :- This is the NHS you know.

The carpet was more like carpet tile and was probably 1mm taller than the normal polished floor. kp had no bother walking on it with the physios help.

Following the guided tour around the flat, kp did a full circle tour of the whole ward and I estimate she did about 150 steps holding on to the physio’s hand.

This reminds me of something I omitted from yesterday’s blog. When the main man was lifting kp’s left leg in to all sorts of unusual positions yesterday, kp felt constantly like she was losing her balance. At one point, she grabbed hold of the lady physio’s trousers and nearly pulled them down. We were all in stitches.

With the physio over, the next thing was the neuropsychologist’s (NP) visit at 11am.

On a friday, we are always keen to get away early to enjoy the weekend to its fullest, so to avoid the long wait we had the other week for kp’s morphine patch, I asked the Sister if we could get it early, but because it is a controlled drug, we couldn’t get it until we were ready to leave, so we had to ask again after the NP’s visit.

The NP arrived and reported on all the tests she had done. There were no big surprises. kp’s stroke has had a “significant, but subtle” affect on her brain activity. I can’t recall all the problems, but things like

  • she has a smaller working memory
  • she needs to be given lots of facts slowly
  • her brain doesn’t work as fast as it did

On the plus side, her long term memory is unchanged :-)

There was lots more, but I can’t recall them at the moment. It could have been so much worse, so we are pleased at the subtlety of kp’s stroke effects.

NP over, all we needed was the patch. I asked the Sister and we waited for a while. After what seemed forever, I asked her again (glad I did, as she had forgot (other things going on)). The patch needs to be countersigned by another qualified nurse and she had just left the ward. More waiting……

When she returned, we found out the patch wasn’t in stock and we would need to wait for it to come up from pharmacy. kp was so keen to get away, we opted for coming back a bit earlier on Sunday to get the patch applied.

Adele was cleaning our house when we got back, which gave kp and I a chance to have a snooze. We had about 90 mins.

kp:- I don’t think I fell asleep.
dp:- You were snoring.
kp:- Oh, I must have then.

It was then time to get ready for the meal out with Tommy and Eileen, which we thoroughly enjoyed before coming home for bed.

Day 177 – Saturday 22nd October

No, Lydia, there were no toilet shenanigans in the restaurant last night and we only had to make one visit. I am dying to bump into a woman in the ladies and say “How do !”

According to kp, she slept very well last night. We got up three times in the night for commode visits, but that aside she did sleep very well. We had a nice lie-in, and by the time I had walked the dogs, it was 12pm when I got kp up.

Uneventful, but relaxing day.

Hot Cross Buns for breakfast with Jonathan Ross.

Email Checking.

Bed for a lovely 2 hour kip, the best sleep of the day !

Then the highlight of the weekend, X Factor + Strictly Come Dancing with Pizza. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The dogs were less interested :-

(Elsa (left), Cleo (right))

That’s our Saturday. Mum and Dad coming up tomorrow and we are going out for lunch, should be nice.

Day 178 – Sunday 23rd October

We both had a fairly good night’s sleep last night, not waking up until 6.15am, with only 2 toilet breaks in the night.

Karen woke up as stiff as a board with lots of aches and pains in her right shoulder. She thinks she slept funny. These aches and pains seemed to fade a bit as the morning passed.

Cup of Tea with Parkinson and the rest of last night’s telly which we were too tired to watch.

kp checked her emails, but couldn’t see a thing. Her eyes were a bit skewiff today, even with my glasses on. So, I ended up reading them out and typing them in.

Her eyes were so skewiff, we were sat outside enjoying some fresh air, and she looked towards some cows in the field across the way and said :-

kp:- Are they cows or sheep ?
dp:- Cows love.
kp:- Thought so

Lucky guess more like.

Mum and Dad came up and we went out for a Sunday Lunch. It was good company, but the food wasn’t too hot. Beef should have blood visible in the Pollard’s book and still “moo” if you put your knife in it. No “mooing” with this beef.

Mum and Dad chose well with the pork, but I was disgusted at the amount of Roast Potatoes we were each given. I normally like 10+. We each got 1 ! One ! ONE ! Mum and Dad sympathetically donated their single Roastie to me. I was polite and accepted so as not to offend ;-)

Meal over (thanks Dad), we went back for a cup of tea and a hot water bottle for Karen. Karen showed mum and dad a bit of walking. They were amazed. She even did a bit without holding my hand, but she doesn’t feel confident enough for lots of that.

When M+D left, we went for a snooze. I was at the most beautiful place in dreamland, when kp woke me up for a “pee”. We had to fully wake up to get on the commode, and then we returned to Zzzzz land. Heaven again, the most beautiful sleep and then

kp :- David, DAVID ! I need to go to the loo again.
dp :- No problem love, not a problem. Not a problem at all. Il n’ya pas de probleme. Keine probleme.

Well, there was no way I was going back to sleep now. To be woken at that heavenly point is torture for me, so I told kp I had had my sleep and went on the computer. Within minutes, kp was snoring.

We went back to the hospital a bit earlier than normal because of the patch issue (Friday’s blog explains more).

Day 179 – Monday 24th October

I arrived at 12pm today and kp had JUST woke up !! I normally get there for 10am, so the nurses don’t normally disturb kp (which she appreciates) as they know I will get her up.

At 11.50am, they had realised that I wasn’t there and woken her up. kp said she would have slept a lot longer :-)

After the bath and some fresh air (treacherous day), we had a little snooze before physio.

The main man got kp on the bench perfectly on her side and started lifting her left leg into all kinds of places (up, backwards, up & backwards at the same time etc etc…). I think he was trying to loosen her left hip a bit.

That over, he concentrated on kp’s left arm and wrist. They had stiffened up a bit over the weekend.

kp then walked (in front of the main man) all the way back to her room (about 90 steps). No wheelchair and HARDLY any support from him.

Once back, kp grilled him on leaving dates and how good will her left arm get.

Leaving Dates – Nothing is confirmed yet, but he thinks another 2 weeks plus this week should see her at the best time to leave. We worked out that is approx 10th/11th November.

How good will her left arm get – Very tactfully the main man said there is still improvement to be made and mentioned some things kp may be able to do to help its recovery. He also said it wouldn’t get to be as strong as the right arm.

Physio over, Lydia arrived with her nan. Her nan was a bit worse for wear after climbing the steps to the ward and at one point we thought she was going to pass out. After the worrying time, we were all laughing about it, and her nan took it in good spirit.

We had a good laugh with Lydia (+nan) and then it was time for us all to go.

That’s it for today.

Attention All Bloggers
It is looking like Karen will be coming home Thursday or Friday (10/11th November). This could well change by a week or two. I would like to make her homecoming a big event. There will be buffet/drinks laid on at our home for anyone who has been reading the blog and would like to come. Nearer the time, I will post more specific details, but this is just a heads up for now. All welcome.

Day 180 – Tuesday 25th October

You’ve heard of Sweaty Betty. I was greeted this morning by Drenched Wench. I know, woman perspire, they don’t sweat. Let me tell you, Karen was soaked with sweat this morning. It was quite funny to see, because when I arrived she was fast asleep, but she must have gone to sleep with the headrest part of the bed quite upright, so this morning, she was all huddled up at the bottom of the headrest, presumably having slid down gradually all night until she was in a ball at the base.

kp:- Is it that time already ?
dp:- Not quite, but it’s nearly 10am.
kp:- I am a bit sweaty

A BIT !!!!!!!!!! I didn’t say anything.

First trip the loo. I helped get her off the bed. When she gets off the bed in the mornings, her left arm is VERY stiff and kind of thrusts into her stomach while she is getting up. In helping her get off the bed, I could feel her nightie was soaked. Poor kp.

Loo over, she went to clean her teeth while I went for the bath harness sling thing. She walks from the bed to the loo, and the loo to the sink now all the time (with someone being there to hold her hand). I have now got her to put her toothbrush in her left hand (with her right) while she pushes the paste on with her right hand. She is getting better all the time at this.

While I remember, her buttock wound is getting a lot better now. It is slowly closing up. At a push, you could get a knitting needle in there (size 8, not that I have ever knitted, ahem !), but fruit is out, you simply couldn’t push it in. You’d need to puree it first and pour !

Bath over, we had a cup of tea and some biscuits (for breakfast) and then went out for some fresh air. We had a while before lunch so we had a snooze. I had suggested I go back to the floor to snooze as I was sick of jumping up when the nurses walk in, but kp wanted my warmth, so I succumbed to her lovely comfy bed and a nice cuddle. If any other women out there would like some of my warmth in bed, please contact me. I am available most weekdays. In fact, weekends I probably wouldn’t be missed. ;-)

It was then time for physio. Physio today was great !

It started with the main man pulling a bench in front of kp and raising it high. He then helped kp get her left arm on top of the bench and then held her wrist down and proceeded to get kp to raise her fingers. At first, she needed helping, but then gradually she could do it more and more herself. He then got her to do the finger lifting while lifting the wrist, and again the more he helped the more she could do it herself.

These are exercises that we need to practice ourselves.

He then put a towel under her left hand (to reduce the friction of the hand on the table) and got her to push the towel away and back. kp’s natural inclination (due to the weakness in her left arm) is to use her whole body to move the arm. She moves back on the bench and her arm goes with her. This time, he put his finger on her back so she couldn’t move back or forward and encouraged her to flex her elbow etc…. She got a bit better at this as she did it more, but I wouldn’t say she cracked this one.

Her main weakness seems to be at the top of her arm.

An interesting thing happened today actually (outside of physio). I was dressing kp and putting a t-shirt on her. We have been taught to do the stroke side first (when things are going on) and then the other side which I did. But it must have been a tight t-shirt and I struggled getting her right arm into the t-shirt. Instinctively, kp raised her left arm to help me out. It was no help, but was AMAZING to see. When I asked her to do it again, she couldn’t. Marie saw a similar thing when kp was in intensive care.

I asked the main man about this today and apparently this is quite normal. There are certain chemicals in the body that are used to send signals to muscles/nerves. They work well the first time, but by the second time, the chemicals have been used up and there are less of them around so things get harder to do. Very interesting !

Back to physio.

Left arm exercises over, we now have some homework. In a nutshell, we have to practice what we did today. The more we tax the left arm, the more it will recover. It won’t ever be as strong as the right, but any functional use from it will be appreciated.

He then asked her to tap her left fingers from one side to the other and back again. I can’t remember if I have mentioned this before, but quite often kp’s left fingers go in to spasm. They move very quickly (out of her control). There’s a reason for this and it isn’t anything to worry about.

So………….the main man asks kp to tap her left fingers one by one from left to right and back again, a bit like you were waiting for someone and getting impatient.

kp tried to do what he had asked, but unfortunately the spasms kicked in. Here is some video showing you what followed (published with the kind permission of the main man). (Some of the spasms are TOO quick for my phone video camera, but you can hear the corresponding tap even though you can’t see it). We were all laughing at this. It is sad, but funny.

Hand Tapping

The main man then offered to do some steps with kp (something we had mentioned would be helpful). She jumped at it, and before long, we were at the hospital steps.

She took to the steps well. He got her to climb a step (right foot first), and then back down again. And then do the same thing but with left foot first. She did quite a bit of climbing one step and coming back down again, before he offered her the chance of going up a few steps. She jumped at it.

One by one, she took each step………….

The main man had thought she would walk a few steps. He even asked if she wanted to do any more after about 3 steps. She did 12 !!!!

Of course, then she had to come back down again.

The main man had offered her a choice of coming down on the left hand side or the right hand side. If she came down on the left hand side, he would have to put he left hand on the banister but it wouldn’t be able to grip much to support her.

She opted for the right hand side.

You’d think coming down would be easier, but it wasn’t and she nearly came a cropper on her first downward step. The main man was there to save the day. I had to put the phone camera down and go and stand in front of kp as she felt a bit wary of going downstairs.

I managed to get a shot of her last downward step………..

I was so proud of her. As soon as she got back to the room, she was on the phone to dad to tell him. They have offered to have us over Xmas, but the stairs were a concern. They aren’t now !

After telling dad, we had a lie-down (on her bed). I was out for the count, and apparently, whilst I was asleep, a nurse came in, gave kp her tablets and water and left. I didn’t hear a thing. Normally I jump up and pretend to be sitting on the side of the bed.

If the nurse asks, i will say I was concentrating on testing the softness of kp’s bed.

Day 181 – Wednesday 26th October

Very full day today.

We had 45 minutes after I had arrived to get the bath done before physio. We did it in 35 minutes, but kp kept getting annoyed at me looking at my watch, when she was trying to “have a soak”.

Physio today was very funny. It started off with the main man standing in front of kp with kp’s head on the main man’s belly as he tried to loosen her shoulder girdle (whatever that is).

He then tried to see how much movement kp has in her right leg/hip (this is not the stroke side, but the side that has been bolted together with nuts/bolts and string).

He improved the range that kp could get out of it during the session, but commented that it was still not as good as the left leg (in terms of range of movement).

Then came the fun part. The main man got kp standing and stood behind her with his hands on her hips. kp’s instructions were to go with his movements. At first, kp took different steps forward in different directions as the main man did his stuff. kp and I looked at each other as if to say “what’s he doing ?”. kp didn’t know where she was going from one step to the next. But after the main man was confident that she knew what he wanted of her, he took her into a kind of breakdance routine. He had her stepping front left, front right, back left, back right, back left, back right, back left, back right, front harsh right etc etc…………….

It was so funny. kp hadn’t a clue where she was going, but we learned later that this was the point. Apparently, if you know you are going to walk in a certain direction, you can prepare for it, but he can get a better idea of how she is doing, if he throws some randomness into the walking.

We found it very funny.

Physio over, Adele arrived for our trip to the Metro Centre. It’s Karen’s birthday on Friday, she is 21 again and we wanted to take her shopping to get some goodies for herself.

M&S first, followed by BHS. It sounds so easy when you say it like that, but I was knackered after M&S. kp was very frustrated with the whole experience. I kept pushing the wheelchair past things she wanted to look at. She expected me to know that the 4th blouse on the rack on the left we had just passed was the one she wanted me to model for her.

I got a picture of kp before the frustration set in. (Adele on the left). In this photo, kp was shoplifting the pair of jeans, trying to shove them up her coat.

She got a bit sick of M&S, although still managed to spend a fortune, so we went to BHS. Halfway on the way to BHS, I let go of the wheelchair…..

dp:- You take over Adele, I am just going in here

“Here” was a shop of my interest (DVD shop). It was nice to just have a shufty at things I like, after 30 minutes of looking for size XX short leg trousers and sports bras that give her “the support she needs”.

Back in BHS, we wandered round for ages looking for various bits and bobs. kp was getting p+ssed off with the fact she couldn’t go where she wanted to go without having to say something. So after spending another fortune, we went for a cup of tea in BHS Cafe. kp showed Adele her finger-tapping routine from yesterday. Out of sight of kp, a woman and her family were staring at kp, trying to work out what was wrong with her I expect. kp was unaware of this. I don’t mind it because I suppose it’s human nature to be interested in things that are different.

Shopping over (shame !!!!) we went back to the hospital. We left the hospital at 12pm and I had said we would be back at 3pm. It was 5pm !!!

We had a cracking day overall, jam-packed in fact.

Tomorrow should be a quiet day. Friday we have a big party in Middlesbrough for Karen’s 21st Birthday, we are all really looking forward to that. Saturday, we have Jane and Ronnie staying over, and Sunday, my folks and my sister and her family are coming up, so some interesting days ahead.

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